Photographers in the driftwood at a Washington beach with their cameras in their hands and on tripods taking pictures of waves crashing onto a rocky shore.

Beach Hazards

Washington's coastal state parks are gems full of beauty and wonders to discover. They are also dynamic environments that come with their share of danger. Calm ocean waters may be deceptive!

Always follow posted rules and know your limits. Visit the links below to learn how you can be prepared for and stay safe from potential hazards when visiting coastal parks.

Cold water safety 

Cold water is one of the number one risks you can face at the beach. Even if you do not plan to get in the water, be prepared in case of becoming an accidental swimmer. Just minutes in Washington's freezing water temperatures can be deadly. Click here to learn more about cold water safety from the Washington State Parks Boating Program. 

Rip current 

Also known as rip tides, these ocean currents are fast and strong, quickly putting a swimmer in danger. Learn more about rip currents from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Tsunami evacuation 

Do you know what to do if you are camping or playing on the coast and a tsunami is headed your way? Visit Department of Natural Resources’ tsunamis webpage to learn about this rare, significant beach hazard, how to prepare and how to get to safety. 

Sneaker waves 

A simple walk on the beach is lots of fun, but it can come with its own share of hazards. One of those being sneaker waves -- a torrent of ocean water that can appear out of nowhere. Watch NOAA’s How to be Wave Safe video on Youtube to learn to identify and more information on sneaker waves.